ZOO COMMUNITY HELPS TO SAVE AFFECTED WILDLIFE

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Gland, Switzerland, Tuesday 15 November 2011 (WAZA): After the heavy flooding which has affected nearly the whole of Thailand since beginning of November, the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) has coordinated flood relief measures within the region. To date, help is provided by Wildlife Reserves Singapore, the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums and additional help is being prepared by Zoos Victoria in Melbourne, Oceans Park, Hong Kong and Malaysian zoos. Today two vets from Singapore are arriving in Bangkok, bringing urgently needed drugs and other equipment.

Beginning in late July and continuing for over three months, the floods have caused 506 reported deaths by early November, affected over 2.3 million people, and caused damages estimated at up to 156.7 billion baht (5.1 billion USD) as of 18 October.

The flooding has inundated about six million hectares of land, over 300,000 hectares of which is farmland, in 58 provinces. It has been described as the worst flooding yet in terms of the amount of water and people affected.

“Luckily, only Dusit Zoo in Bangkok is in the pathway of the flood. We have made preparations by moving approximately 30 of our hoof stocks to Khao Kheow Open Zoo and the rest of the animals to higher grounds within the zoo. As the flooding continues to spread to lower elevations, we believe there will be more translocations of wildlife needed in the coming weeks” says Mr. Pimuk Simaroj of the Thai Zoological Park Organization.

In order to be able to help, about 30 items, which are urgently needed, have been listed, ranging from anesthetics, to injection needles and nets for capturing snakes and crocodiles. In an unbureaucratic manner emergency relief action could be organized within the wider Asian region. Two vets from Wildlife Reserves Singapore will bring drugs, an anesthetic machine and other equipment such as snake hooks and nets, and also assist their Thai colleagues on the spot to capture escaped reptiles and provide medical care. “In times of increased natural disasters, it is of utmost importance to cooperate within a global community and provide mutual support and assistance, I thank all our member zoos and other partners like Thai Air for their immediate support”, says Dr Gerald Dick, Executive Director of WAZA.

“WRS, as a member of WAZA and SEAZA, is happy to extend assistance in the form of medical supplies and vet resources to our neighbouring partners on the Flood Relieve Mission for wildlife rescue. We will continue to assess the situation together with the Thai conservation groups, and determine further levels of assistance needed. In the meantime, WRS is committed to wildlife research and conservation especially for Asia,” says Isabella Loh, Director and Group CEO of WRS.

Rescue of Sambar deer (Rusa unicolor), carried out by the Zoological Park Organisation ©Wanlaya Tipkantha

Rescue of Sambar deer (Rusa unicolor), carried out by the Zoological Park Organisation ©Wanlaya Tipkantha

WILDLIFE RESERVES PARKS COMMEMORATE WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY

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Singapore, June 5, 2008 – In line with the 2008 World Environment Day slogan “CO2 Kick the Habit! Towards a Low Carbon Economy,” Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari and Singapore Zoo symbolically planted 75 tree saplings and 120 shrubs on June 5 in recognition that deforestation not only affects animals’ habitats but also affects climate change.

The tree planting was carried out by employees of all three parks and took place at the new and upcoming attraction in Singapore Zoo called Rainforest Kidzworld, slated to be opened later this year.

The symbolic planting is only a fraction of the 20,000 more trees, palms, shrubs, ferns, grasses and epiphytes that will eventually be nurtured within the entire Rainforest Kidzworld area. Interestingly, plants with intriguing animal names were chosen to kickstart the greening of this area. These include Spider Lily, Cat’s Whisker, Peacock Flower, Snake Weed, Butterfly Ginger and Tiger Orchid.

“The tree planting is a significant occasion for us at Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari and Singapore Zoo as it is in accordance with our mission to not only conserve endangered animals but to also preserve biodiversity. As we continue to transform the Parks into Rainforest Parks, we hope to also bring the message across to the public on the need to preserve and grow more trees,” said Ms Fanny Lai, Group CEO, Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

More than 60 employees from the three parks let loose their ‘green fingers’ and planted the saplings in an effort to do their part for the environment.

Of the more than 298,000 species of plants in the world, the IUCN 2007 Red List indicates that 70% are threatened. In Asia alone, this numbers 3,113 species of plants. The world is losing its tropical forests at an alarming rate, owing mainly to agricultural expansion. Native plant species are facing extinction, and a net increase in greenhouse gases is contributing to global climate change, increased soil erosion, drought and flooding. This environmental degradation forces farmers to clear even more land to grow food for their families.

There are more than 1.5 million trees and shrubs in Jurong BirdPark, Night Safari and Singapore Zoo. Each year more than 70,000 trees and shrubs are planted, replanted and established to maintain our rainforest.

In addition to the tree planting activity, to instill the habit of recycling amongst visitors, the Zoo also placed a paper recycling bin at the exit for visitors to dispose of their paper products, including unwanted maps and brochures at the end of their visit. The paper will in turn be recycled. Recycling bins for other materials such as plastic and aluminum are also placed at significant areas around the parks.

Jurong BirdPark, Night Safari and Singapore Zoo hopes guests will take away with them the green message of recycling, and subsequently start their own recycling initiative at their homes or workplaces.

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